England star opens sickle cell service at the Royal
FORMER Liverpool FC and
England footballer Mark Walters returned to the City to launch a
service improving treatment for people with life-limiting genetic
diseases in Merseyside.
The grand opening of the adult service for patients and carers with
sickle cell disease and thalassaemia took place at the Roald Dahl
Centre at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on Friday, 7 March
A plaque was unveiled dedicating the transition service from child
to adult care to Dr Ade Olujohungbe, a renowned haematologist who
was instrumental in setting up the paediatric sickle cell service at
Alder Hey. He had sickle cell disease himself and died just a week
short of his 50th birthday last year.
The adult service is run by Professor Cheng-Hock Toh, Dr Tina Dutt
and Dr Vanessa Martlew, with a clinical nurse specialist in sickle
cell disease and thalassaemia, Andy Houghton, providing additional
psychological support for patients. There are around 35 people
currently receiving care as outpatients.
Andy said:- "Over the past few years, we've built up a large
group of patients in Liverpool. As the Roald Dahl Centre is
internationally recognised for its high quality care provision for
inherited blood disorders, such as haemophilia, we extended this
model of comprehensive care to patients with sickle cell disease. It
also ensures local patients receive a local, expert service and do
not need to travel outside of the City for a quality service.
This is important as patients can have very sudden painful crises.
Other problems include a stroke and there can be liver and kidney
damage. Therefore, coordinating their care with other specialist
departments is vital.
The patients are used to taking painkillers, such as paracetamol,
regularly. When that fails they come to us. We try to pre-empt that.
But if they do come to the Emergency Department, they need to be
treated promptly and sensitively so we run education sessions for
staff so they understand the needs of the patients."
With around 90 patients currently treated at Alder Hey, many will be
treated at the Royal after they turn 18, so the transition service
is a vital part of making that change as comfortable and seamless as
Dr Dutt said:- "We have tried to create a warm and personal
environment for the patients moving to us from Alder Hey so that
they remain positive about their health and we can support them in
living their lives to the full. It feels fitting to dedicate this
part of the service to Ade who, despite sickle cell, was such a
dynamic and exuberant individual."
One sickle cell disease patient who has benefited from the service
already is 22-year-old Aaron Sibanda, whose care was transeferred
from Alder Hey in December.
Aaron, originally from Zimbabwe
and now living in Bebington, attended the launch with his mother.
He said:- "It's nice to come somewhere and feel comfortable,
with similar surroundings. The staff - Tina and Andy - are really
The service can also offer
counselling for people who are diagnosed as being carriers, which
can often come to light during routine pre-operative tests.
Andy added:- "If 2 carriers are planning to have a child, we
can speak to them about their feelings and fears about passing on
sickle cell disease. We are there to offer information and support.
If someone feels unwell with sickle cell crisis, they can phone us
up and see us that day. Having the clinics and the possibility of
speaking with us is more preventative. We can treat people before
the symptoms get extremely painful for the patient."
Ex-Liverpool star Walters; whose close friend had sickle cell
disease; was joined by Professor Elizabeth Anionwu CBE, the first
ever sickle cell and Thalassaemia counsellor in Britain, a Patron of
the Sickle Cell Society and a member of the NHS Sickle &
Thalassaemia Screening Programme Implementation Group. They appeared
on behalf of the Sickle Cell Society.
Dr Olujohungbe's widow Danita and daughter Olivia also attended and
spoke movingly of their pride that the service had been dedicated to
Walters said:- "It's a fantastic step forward as it will help
treat many people who suffer from a debilitating illness that
affects all aspects of their young lives and hopefully will bring
more awareness to the condition."
Professor Anionwu added:- "My dear friend Ade would be so
proud with the launch of this service for a condition that he
championed for so many years. He was a very intelligent, humble and
dedicated doctor and would be surprised but delighted that it is
named after him; a wonderful legacy!"
WINNIE THE POOH
FLIES OVER LIVERPOOL
DISNEY announces regional
winner of its Winnie the Pooh Laureate competition, which celebrates
storytelling inspired by landmarks and history around the UK
Disney Store launches Story Time with Pooh series; free, weekly
storytelling sessions for children and parents; in stores
Having searched the nation high and low for budding writers, Disney
UK and its regional ambassador, best selling author Jane Costello,
have today crowned Jude Lennon from Liverpool, Disney Winnie the
Pooh Laureate of the North West!
Following research that revealed that 76% of parents tell their
children stories inspired by their local area, Disney launched a
nationwide storytelling contest to find regional Winnie the Pooh
Laureates and one overall national winner, whose stories celebrated
their area's local history and landmarks in a unique way, just as A.A. Milne used Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest to create
the fictional Hundred Acre Wood for the setting of the popular
Winnie the Pooh books.
Aspiring Laureates were asked to share original stories inspired by
their local area, featuring Winnie the Pooh and Friends taking an
adventure outside of 100 Acre Wood, or introducing their own new
cast of characters. North West winner, Jude Lennon, rose to the
challenge and sought inspiration from her hometown of Liverpool,
where she took Winnie the Pooh and Friends on a unique journey
around the City. Flying high above the City skyline, Winnie the Pooh
and Friends enjoyed an incredible bird's eye view of the Mersey
ferry, the Wheel of Liverpool and Lime Street trains!
Jane Costello, regional ambassador, commented:- "I'm delighted
Jude Lennon was crowned regional winner for the North West. I was
particularly inspired by Jude's creativity, impressive storytelling
skills and the inspiration that she found in her local City of
Liverpool. I loved the fact that Jude's story rhymed throughout; a
really unique touch. Jude should be very proud of her achievement."
The competition was fronted by presenter and dad of two, Jamie
Theakston. He added:- "I've loved being a part of the Winnie
the Pooh Laureate campaign as storytelling is, and always has been,
a huge passion of mine. I really enjoyed reading all the entries and
am delighted to have been a part of the selection process; although
it was difficult at times choosing the winners!"
As well as becoming Disney's Winnie the Pooh Laureate, the regional
winner was also invited to perform a live reading of her winning
story to a gathering crowd at the Disney Store in Liverpool on 5
March to coincide with the exciting launch of the Story Time with
Pooh series; free weekly storytelling sessions for children to
enjoy in Disney Stores up and down the country. There, our regional
ambassador Jane Costello presented the winner with a Winnie the Pooh
Laureate certificate, a copy of their story printed in a special
book and a goody bag full of Winnie the Pooh product.
Jude Lennon said of her win:- "I love storytelling and
particularly enjoy bringing my stories to life through poetry. It
was really fun to take Winnie the Pooh and Friends on a poetic
adventure over the City of Liverpool. Looking down from the sky
above certainly gave them an exciting adventure! I still can't quite
believe I'm the North West winner!"
Justine Finch, Marketing Director, Winnie the Pooh concludes:-
"We were overwhelmed by the imagination behind people's stories
and the enthusiasm for their local area. We have thoroughly enjoyed
hosting this competition and reading all of the great entries and
hope it has inspired families to spend more time creating and
sharing stories together. Thank you to everyone who took part; keep
on being inspired by your local surroundings and we look forward to
seeing you at our Story Time with Pooh sessions in Disney Stores
across the country!"
The regional Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureates include Anne Baker
from the South, Emma Taylor from Scotland and Sally Jenkins from the
Midlands. The winning national and regional stories are featured
Sefton Workers gear up to march
for Fair Funding for Public Services
WORKERS from Sefton Council will be amongst
the marchers in Liverpool on Saturday. Thousands of service users
and workers from across the North West will be showing their support
for public services and highlighting how services are now under
tremendous pressure due to unfair cuts. The cuts in Sefton have been
nearly twice the national average and ten times more than some
affluent areas in the South. Sefton has already cut nearly 1500 jobs
from its workforce. Holly (pictured 3rd from left) has worked for
the Council for over four years as part of the Benefits and Housing
Advice team. The team provides support to those going through
substance misuse treatment in Sefton. Holly said:- "It's not
fair the way that Councils in the North have been hit by such large
cuts. This is already having an impact on services in Sefton; advice
services, libraries, sure start centres, support for the elderly,
day care centres and youth services. People need to know that the
Government want to increase the speed of spending cuts in coming
years. This will have a terrible impact on our communities. We don't
want more and more cuts year after year. We need fair funding for
public services. That's why we'll be marching on Saturday, 15 March
2014." Members of the public and Council staff from
across the North West will be assembling for the march at Pier Head
from 10am. The event concludes with a rally at St George's Plateau
from 11.30am. The event has been organised by UNISON North West.